The New York City Public Library is one of the largest in the world, with tens of millions of books in it's collections. In 1911 when it opened it boasted one million books and 30,000 to 40,000 visitors streamed through the building on opening day. The boys in this photo were no doubt blown away by the building and the amazing number and variety of books available to lend. I wonder what they heard at the lecture preceding this photo and I wonder which books they decided to lend or browse through? No doubt they were given instructions on how to treat a book respectfully and taught about the mysteries of the Dewey Decimal System.
They might have been instructed not to leave things in loaned books when they return them. My inside source on library matters, Nancy Javier, "Ladies of the Grove" volunteers at the Fallbrook library and she told me about an exhibition of such items the library hosted. Curious, I looked up the top ten things people leave in library books - things like unpaid utility bills, business cards, advertising flyers, pizza coupons, playing cards. My husband uses foreign currency for book marks and has left more than a few bills in library books.
Last week I started with the phone theme and ended up writing about phone booth recycling. I found that some inventive sorts have turned these booths/boxes into the very antithesis of NYPL - very tiny "honor" libraries of the "take one, leave one" variety. This one with the line-up is in Wells, England in the village of Westbury-Sud-Mendip. I love British hyphenated hard-to-spell place names. When these towns were christened they didn't have to worry about repeating the name and spelling it three times for Fed Ex. Our town would be so much more interesting with a name like Fallbrook-by-Pendleton, or Fallbrook-on-Santa Margarita. But alas, in this busy age brevity serves us better than romance.
Thinking smaller and smaller, which suits my pea brain very well, I bumped into the "Little Free Library" movement, started by Todd Bol of Hudson Wisconsin when he built a little free library box and planted in in his yard as a memorial to his mother, a lover of books and a school teacher. People loved it and a movement was started. Now there are more than 2500 little free libraries across the US and in 32 other countries.
Stories abound about why people were inspired to build them but primarily they were motivated to promote libraries and love of reading. They help develop a sense of community through shared commitment. You can read about them, order one and join the movement here:
Little Free Libraries
Here's the sign you can order for your tiny library:
Looking for an unusual, useful, long-lasting birthday present? Here's one presented to Diane Cors from her thoughtful husband Art. What a terrific present for a librarian! Art could give gift-giving lessons to husbands everywhere.
. I'll bet they don't really stand on ceremony and let you contribute whatever books you have - big mysteries, little mysteries, no mystery at all.
The mother of these three young girls, in Tustin California read about the libraries in a newspaper article. She and her daughters bought a terrarium, painted it red and stocked it with their favorite books, one of which was "The Book Thief".
Small Things Are The Start of Big Things
"All great things are only a number
of small things that have carefully
been collected together."
"Check out" more stories about this library photo atSepia Saturday